Amazon says it can ship items before customers order

by William M. Welch, USA TODAY

alt

Employees select and dispatch items in the huge Amazon warehouse in Peterborough, England, in this November 2013 photo. The online retailer has obtained a patent for "anticipatory shipping'' and says it has means to predict orders before they are placed. (Photo: Oli Scarff, Getty Images)


Online retail giant Amazon says it knows its customers so well it can start shipping even before orders are placed.

The Seattle-based company, which late last year said it wants to use drones to speed package delivery, gained a patent last month for what it calls "anticipatory shipping,'' the Wall Street Journal reports.

Amazon, the Journal reported, says it may box and ship products that it expects customers in a specific area will want, based on previous orders and other factors it gleans from its customers' shopping patterns, even before they place an online order.

Among those other factors: previous orders, product searches, wish lists, shopping cart contents, returns and other online shopping practices.

Amazon has worked to cut delivery times as a way of encouraging more orders and satisfying customers, such as by expanding its warehouse network and making some overnight and even same-day deliveries.

Amazon didn't estimate how much delivery time it expects to save, or whether it has already put its new system to work, the Journal reported.

"It appears Amazon is taking advantage of their copious data," Sucharita Mulpuru, a Forrester Research analyst, told the Journal. "Based on all the things they know about their customers they could predict demand based on a variety of factors."

To minimize the cost of unwanted returns, Amazon said it might consider giving customers discounts or even make the delivered item a gift.

"Delivering the package to the given customer as a promotional gift may be used to build goodwill," the patent said.



More Local

Suspect in Union City killing arrested

The man suspected of killing a Newnan woman in Union City in early April was arrested by authorities in Atlanta late Monday. Irwin Clint Dre ... Read More


Public safety officials converge for Mantracker

Public safety personnel and law enforcement officers from all over Georgia are crowding to Coweta County this week for the 2014 Mantracker P ... Read More


College, career readiness

Coweta schools score higher than state

The Georgia Department of Education released the results of the College and Career Readiness Performance Index earlier this week, and school ... Read More


Suspected robbers extradited to Columbia County

The two suspected armed robbers arrested in Newnan last week were extradited to Columbia County on Monday to face numerous charges. On Monda ... Read More


Community Responds to shootings

Easter event first of several planned

Wet weather nixed the egg hunt at Central Educational Center on Saturday, but the atmosphere at the Community Easter Fest was one of buoyant ... Read More

2 arrested for sale of marijuana

Two people were charged with selling marijuana last week following undercover investigations by the Newnan Police Department, including one ... Read More